Pregnancy has taught me patience and that I don’t have as much control as I think I do. Having an induction for my third birth made me realize that you can have a plan but you also have to be OK with things not going according to plan.
I wanted to deliver naturally at home with my first, and I ended up with a 4th-degree episiotomy. My second child, my daughter, was born very quickly, nearly coming out as I walked into the hospital. I was able to deliver her vaginally with no drugs. For my third child, I knew I wanted to get to the hospital earlier in labor!
A Happy Surprise
I had a feeling I was pregnant again while we were on vacation. When I’m pregnant I get very dry mouth and feel kind of dizzy in the mornings. We were at a higher altitude, so I thought that was more likely the cause. When we were home, I woke up, took a test and found out I was pregnant.
I kept the news to myself for a full day, then I contacted one of my husband’s coworkers to pick up a gift to announce our children were becoming a big brother and a big sister. We walked down to my husband’s office to surprise him, and he was very shocked. We were not expecting to be pregnant, because I hadn’t had a period since before my first pregnancy.
Morning sickness was part of this pregnancy. I was very nauseous. I didn’t vomit every day but did a few times a week. It eventually subsided, but I would get very fatigued by the end of the day.
With this pregnancy I craved vinegary things like Chili’s salsa, pickles and I loved Zapp’s voodoo chips, Cane’s sauce and French fries. I did my best to not eat in excess. My only aversion was to cooking raw meat. With all my pregnancies I can’t bring myself to cook anything raw that could potentially make me ill.
We lived in a two-story house near the end of the pregnancy, and I was having such a hard time with the stairs. It created a severe amount of pressure and pain in my lower back and sacrum. I had to do a side waddle and hold onto the hand rail, pulling myself up to get upstairs. When I look at pictures now and realize how big I was I don’t feel as bad for feeling so fatigued! I also had more hip pain, which I didn’t have with my other two pregnancies. It did go away once he was born.
I had COVID-19 in January before William was born in April, and that was a very scary experience for me. Feeling like I couldn’t breathe while pregnant was terrifying. Once I started to feel better I might have overdone it because I wanted to enjoy my kids after having been stuck in bed for two weeks.
Preparing for Birth
With my pregnancy with William I really enjoyed knowing what to expect and enjoyed being pregnant as much as you can while having young children. My older son was 3 and 1/2, and my daughter had just turned 2, so they were able to be very involved. They would touch my belly and wonder if it was a boy or a girl. My son just knew the whole time I was having a boy because he wanted a brother, and he got his wish.
Packing My Bag
I had a bag packed for all my pregnancies, and I keep a note on my phone that I add to. I was probably overprepared the first time, with my hair dryer, curling iron, straightener, nursing bras, pads, matching mommy-and-me gowns and makeup. I started packing a little lighter with each pregnancy.
This third time, I brought a bag with my nursing pillow, two changes of clothes, a nursing bra, socks and hair dryer. I didn’t even bring a straightener because I knew with COVID-19 I wouldn’t have visitors. And with my first two births there was no time to fix myself up anyway. I’m sure you could make time, but I was just so elated with staring at my baby that I literally forget anything about my hair—and I’m someone who wears a full face of makeup and fixes my hair every day!
Baby’s Size in the Home Stretch
I had a very healthy pregnancy with William. I put on a little more weight than I did with the first two, but I did not have gestational diabetes. Once I was 40 weeks I had a final ultrasound.
My OB, Debbie Jurgelsky, MD, had the ultrasound tech come in and talk to me. “By my calculations your child is as big as a 44-week old child,” he said “It’s not safe to continue with the pregnancy.”
For someone like me who had a vaginal birth with some intervention then one completely natural delivery, I was terrified of induction and didn’t know what to expect. Dr. Jurgelsky reassured me that I needed to be induced but was already 4 cm dilated. She said I would come in the next day, be put on Pitocin and the baby would come right out. But I was very nervous.
I called my birth photographer and shared my fears. She encouraged me to listen to my doctor and trust her. I was able to make peace with it.
While I felt well taken care of the whole time, I was very much in my head, walking around the room in a very intense labor. I knew the baby was going to be big, but I didn’t know how big. I’d already had a 9.5 lb. son, and my daughter was born at 7 lb.
William was born and he was massive, 10 lb., 15 oz. It was a textbook delivery – no tears and no cut needed. His bright red hair and knowing he is a boy were happy surprises too.
I have been breastfeeding for five years straight, something I never would have said years ago before my first child was born when I didn’t know what to expect. I did take a breastfeeding course at the hospital then, but I didn’t know anyone who breastfed and didn’t know what to expect or if it would work out.
I’m definitely a big breastfeeding advocate if it works, but fed is best. Breastfeeding has definitely worked for me. I felt very confident when the lactation consultant would come in and give me tips and tricks to try.
Even this last time, the consultant made a comment like “oh, well you’re a pro.” I already had milk from my older child, but when my milk came in it was different. My body produced colostrum even while still nursing a toddler. That was true even in my second pregnancy when my older son was 20 months old. I nursed him and nursed the baby. It felt right and very natural.
Becoming a Family of Five
I was very prepared for things to go wrong and for life to be chaotic, but it was great. We took things at our own pace. I had another healthy child and that is everything.
My husband and I are very independent, so we’re used to doing things on our own. We knew we’d be up all night, we knew what to expect and what to do. We had a system down and knew we weren’t going to break the structure of our toddlers’ lives.
Things really did go smoothly. William was a very big baby who ate and slept a lot. There was a lot of changing and feeding, which was to be expected.
So many women have birth experiences where they don’t feel like they got what they wanted. But at the end of the day we just want to be alive and our children to be alive. And although the induction was completely different than I would have ever in a million years would have thought I wanted, I am glad I was able to have such a positive birth experience.
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